Meet the new NAACP president

Sabrina Scott

One of Kent State University’s employees was sworn in as president of the NAACP of Portage County.

Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, the executive director of the Employee Engagement and Outreach Division of Human Resources at the university, said she has a strong mindset of the community’s future.

As an undergraduate student at Kent State, she developed an interest to become involved in Portage County after helping raise money for the King-Kennedy facility to be built.

When she returned when facility was completed, she saw what Kent State students and the community can do.

Before she became president, Hayes-Nelson was on the Education Committee of Portage County’s NAACP to generate scholarship dollars for students living in the county even for non-minorities.

Her agenda is focused on the younger generation and how to better their future and accessibility to higher education.

“Education has always been number one because once you get that education, no one can take it away from you,” Hayes-Nelson said.

She also said how important it is to involve the younger generation with the rest of the community to work together toward a better future.

Hayes-Nelson said that the community can conduct a service project that everyone can benefit from.

“I think it’s an opportunity for me to look at the resources within the community and see how we can all build bridges all for young people,” she said.

Jim Geisey, treasurer of the Portage County’s NAACP, was sworn in along with Hayes-Nelson.

He said that one of NAACP’s issues was to encourage people to exercise their right to vote and be more involved in local politics.

Geisey said that he thought the organization made the right choice.

“She’s a task master. I think she will be a control person who gets things done,” Geisey said. “That’s the reason we put her in. In the past they had good intentions, but they couldn’t push their ideas through. I think she will be able to do that.”

Frank Hairston, head of the Education Committee of the NAACP and director of marketing of PARTA, also shared in Hayes-Nelson’s vision of making more possible and accessible for minority and low-income students to attend college.

He hopes in the future that the NAACP can give grants to students attending college at Kent State University.

He also said that Hayes-Nelson is the first black female president of Portage County’s NAACP’s history.

The NAACP has been working with Sheriff David Doak of Portage County, since January, about community policing to improve the community’s relationship with authority.

“I call her the pied piper ‘cause through her times at the university bumper down the programs here, there are so many kids that she has touched not just black kids but white kids,” said Hairston. “She has touched so many kids and people and they just love her. We just think that this is another tool in the community to open more doors and opportunities with Dr. Nelson being president of the NAACP. She’s going to do a great job.”

Contact Sabrina Scott at [email protected].

Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Employee Engagement and Outreach Division of Human Resources, [email protected], 330-672-8075

Jim Geisey, Treasurer of the NAACP in Portage County, [email protected], 330-678-0226

Frank Hairston, Director of Marketing/EEO/Civil Rights, [email protected], 330-351-3980